Of the table.
Elk Fest (brought to our American shores through the combined talents of Kosmos Games and Mayfair Games) is a table-top game in which you shepherd a moose (yes, it is called ELK fest but as explained in the rules, a moose is considered an elk in Europe so suck it up Yankee and enjoy the game…) across a raging river—represented here by your table—in order to reach the succulent grasses on the other side. Each player is provided with a wooden moose, a starting platform, and three round wooden “stones” which the moose (meece? mooseses? müesi?) use to cross the dangerous waters to the other player’s starting platform.
Play is simple. On your turn you flick the grey stones. You get two flicks and you can flick any stones on which a moose is not standing. At the beginning of the game this generally mean you will flick your own stones, but as the players move toward the center of the river, and their stones come closer and closer, any free stone could be of strategic importance. Your goal, in flicking a stone, is to get it close enough to the moose so that it can put its front feet on a stone and keep its back feet on another stone (the starting platform counts as a stone).
Once the müesi (I have a thing for umlauts) leave their platforms, careful flickage is important. If you knock any moose off its perch your turn ends and your opponent gets three flicks instead of two. This penalty also applies if you misjudge the distance between two stones, and your moose touches the table while you are attempting to bridge the gap.
Strategic flickage and placement opportunities abound. Sometimes flicking an opponent’s stone out of reach is better than moving your animal. Sometimes your moöse can trap stones for later use. Of course you can’t play defense all game, but as your müüs reaches the center of the table, these decisions must be made.
The game pieces are solid and fun to manipulate. The rules take all of a minute to understand, and there are some funny bits that make even that minute enjoyable. Elk Fest is a major fun way to spend a rainy or snowy or blisteringly hot day around the table.
For 2 players, ages 8+
Elk Fest designed by Hermann Huber. © 2006 by Kosmos and Mayfair Games, Inc.